Your initial arrival in El Salvador can be quite a culture shock. The language, the pace, along with the heat inside the capital, and its poverty and third-world chaos, can be quite a little disconcerting, particularly when it's your first visit to Central America. However, there are specific factors which will make the country a great introduction to the location: a familiar currency, relatively good roads and infrastructure, no particular health problems, without visa requirements.
The food is also excellent, when a little unvaried beyond your capital. Choose your accommodations carefully and think seriously about precisely how you will get around. This guide will provide you with tips on how to plan a trip, stay safe, and in touch with home, in addition to more specific information, ensuring you'll be prepared for everything, including surprises.
El Salvador's hotels vary widely in quality, style, and price. San Salvador's larger hotels are typically multinational chains that follow internationally accepted standards for service and amenities, but the majority hotels away from capital are individually owned (this means you'll find some true gems and several real stinkers). There are also a number of international and national chain hotels scattered around the nation, but generally, most small-town hotels will be simple, cinder-block
or stucco buildings with medium to smallish rooms, minimal decoration, and old furniture. Most are comfortable, with friendly, helpful on-site owners. Just don't expect everything being shiny and new. Rates vary from more than $125 to get a luxury room in San Salvador to $14 to get a simple, comfortable room in a mountain town. The bigger the town, the larger the price. And an 18% tax, and that is included inside the prices quoted throughout this informative guide, is applied to everyone hotel rooms. Rooms usually are not necessarily higher priced during Holy Week, Christmas, and early August. Sometimes, they're actually cheaper. But they definitely book solid, so help make your reservations of those weeks far ahead of time.
Outside from the high-end, international restaurants of San Salvador, El Salvadoran dining will get a bit repetitive, with many small-town restaurants offering roughly precisely the same combo of cooked fish, meat, or chicken with rice and salad. Occasionally a nearby restaurant owner throws in a Argentine sausage or maybe a veggie dish. But for the most part, you can be offered just plain-ish meat using a starch and greens. There are a number of highlights, however. The first is El Salvador's national dish, the pupusa. Styles vary, but generally pupusas are corn tortillas stuffed with pork and cheese and grilled warm and brown. They're usually served that has a side of hot sauce plus a tasty curtido, that's like a slightly spicy coleslaw, and then sell on for 25¢ to $1.50 each. You'll find them everywhere; and a couple of to four create a meal. You'll also try El Salvador's refrescos/liquados,that happen to be a combination of fruit, ice, and water or milk. (My favorite's a banana, milk, and honey concoction.) If you then have a strong stomach, you might try out one of the nation's many comedores, which might be small, often family-run restaurants, usually using a mom or grandmother inside kitchen serving pupusas and a number of items depending on whatever can be acquired that week. And if one has had your fill of traditional cuisine, a world-class bunch of Asian, Brazilian, Italian, Peruvian, along with cuisines is accessible in San Salvador. The country's 13% dining tax is usually included inside menu price, by having an additional 10% tip automatically put into most bills. Check your tab before tipping.
Like dining, you will find there's world of difference between shopping in San Salvador and shopping within the rest of the continent. San Salvador offers nearly all you could ever want or need, and is filled up with high-end malls and expensive designer shops. But the smaller towns often offer only small tiendas -- one-room food stores with a couple of necessities -- street markets, and small variety stores. Weekends are likely to see town squares changed into markets offering many methods from arts and crafts to cheap calculators. Most El Salvadoran markets also sell traditional artesanías -- an extensive term for El Salvador's various textile, wood, and art crafts, which will take the kind of wooden crosses, decorative boxes, or natural wood surfaces painted from the unique style of the united states's most well-known artist, Fernando Llort. Note: This information was accurate if this was published, but sometimes change with no warning. Please be sure to make sure that all rates and details directly using the companies showcased before planning your holiday.
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